Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Nature of the work
Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also referred to as rehabilitation medicine, is the medical specialty concerned with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating patients with physical disabilities. These disabilities may arise from conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system such as neck and back pain, sports injuries, or other painful conditions affecting the limbs, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome. Alternatively, the disabilities may result from neurological trauma or disease such as spinal cord injury, head injury, or stroke. A physician certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation is often called a physiatrist. The primary goals of physicians in physical medicine and rehabilitation are to achieve maximum restoration of physical, psychological, social, and vocational function through comprehensive rehabilitation and effective pain management.
Physiatrists can receive training in the following subspecialties:
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine - prevent and relieve the suffering experienced by patients with life-limiting illnesses.
- Neuromuscular Medicine - possesses specialized knowledge in the science, clinical evaluation and management of these disorders.
- Pain Medicine - provides a high level of care for patients experiencing problems with acute, chronic or cancer pain.
- Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine - prevent, diagnose, treat and manage congenital and childhood-onset physical impairments.
- Spinal Cord Injury Medicine - addresses the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of traumatic spinal cord injury and non-traumatic causes of spinal cord dysfunction.
- Sports Medicine - responsible for continuous care related to the enhancement of health and fitness as well as the prevention of injury and illness.
Residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation consists of one year of general clinical training followed by three years of physical medicine and rehabilitation training. Up to one year of additional training is required to practice in one of the subspecialty areas.
Median compensation for assistant professors is $180,000, and for associate and full professors the median is $210,000.